Scientific studies contradict each other and the last “cold wave” tells us that a true understanding of the phenomenon will never really be possible since we can’t retrieve the scientific data from centuries ago when research tools were simply lacking.
Not only that, but I think too many people use “climate change” as a catch-all phrase in order to market products and ideas that will be economically fruitful, for them of course. And in that way they are influencing any research, both on the causes and the effects. Often they reduce the problem to the affirmation that we are "overeating the planet ".
The briefing that we had in the North Lawn Building of the United Nations was entitled: After Cancun, where we are on climate change? and allowed me to understand a few things.
Beyond the causes, climate change exists and, what is more important, it influences all economic and social realities of our system: development, health, education, communication, poverty. This was already known in small individual and social contexts. In Ecuador, on the Coast, school begins in March and ends in January, but on the Sierra, for example, in the mountainous area, school runs from October to July for the sole reason of... the rains. The climate has an enormous influence even on the economic activity, on the way of life, on the mentality and it affects culture as a whole. I remember the surprise of my sister when she paid me a visit in Esmeraldas (Ecuador) and discovered that the windows had no glass, just because they were unnecessary. The climate is central to the lives of people, so climate change is as well.
The latest floods, snowstorms, ecological disasters should make us open our eyes. No doubt in the history of the planet, the natural rhythms between cold and warm periods have always existed. And if the sun produces heat for its internal structure, which is compressing in itself, one day it will begin to fade, even if we do not know when. Instead it is certain that the way we manage our planet leads to disaster and what is worse in this area, as in others, is that some will take decision and take the advantages of it, while others will suffer and pay the consequences. Emissions are a typical example: poor countries are the ones that most suffer from drought and environmental disaster, but are those that do not even have the means to produce these emissions.
But there is something even more serious. Those countries meeting in Cancun in Mexico from November 29 to December 10, 2010 to discuss the issue of climate change and draw the new Cancun Adaptation Framework were 193. However, how many States have signed the agreement? Less than 50. And those who have taken steps to make that Framework part of the legislation of their country are less than ten. Without assuming our responsibilities, we cannot understand the problems and seek solutions.
Just to reduce gas emissions that, without a doubt, are one of the leading causes of air pollution, technological changes to the tune of approximately one hundred billion dollars would be necessary every year. And of course nobody wants to be the first to put this money on the table. Political activities are distracted by the feasts of the politicians, by defense of questionable values, and by the struggles, undoubtedly valid, in favor of minorities, but meanwhile the house of all of us burns and the only vessel that carries us all is sinking. The clearest sign is that after shouting against consumerism, today the great concern is the economic recovery and not the changes in our economic system, cause and origin of so many evils, including the economic crisis.
New York, January 28, 2011